Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has lamented capacity limitations in the police force.
The union’s main focus in its discussion was the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Popcru general secretary Jeffrey Dladla has also thrown caution to government’s renewed focus on recruiting new police officials.
He says the recruitment is still not enough to make a marked difference in the fight against crime.
Dladla said this during his presentation of Popcru’s Organisational Report on the union’s 10th National Congress in Durban.
The severe capacity constraints in the SAPS and correctional services are the result of the austerity measures implemented in recent years, he says.
Dladla said government embarked on a mass recruitment drive to add 10 000 new police officers during the current financial year.
The state has committed to employing additional 10 000 new officers per year for the next two financial years.
This will bring the total number of new recruits to 30 000.
He said government should also contemplate the impacts of erosion, as currently more than 6 000 SAPS members leave the service each year.
“This means the SAPS is only being expanded by 3 500 members per year to work across the 1 158 police stations across the country.
“Likewise, there are just 27 000 correctional service officials guarding the country’s prisons,” he said.
To address the issue, Popcru intends to challenge the salary structure in the police service to encourage police members to remain within the service.
“Police members currently only receive more money when they are at the managerial level rather than the operational level.
“We are busy reviewing this salary structure to ensure that workers can get more money without having to become managers first.
“This will retain more members who are productive and have skills without being promoted to the managerial level,” said Dladla.
He also added that traffic officials’ benefits and conditions of service needed to be standardised, regardless of province or region.
Dladla also said his union welcomed the increase in death benefits for SAPS members killed in the line of duty.
This increase in benefits was outlined by police minister Bheki Cele when he addressed the congress.
Cele said death benefits would be increased from R200,000 to R250,000 for members at level 12.
Benefits will increase to R275,000 for members from levels 11 to 8.
The level seven to level one members would receive an increase in the death grant to R300,000.
Dladla said government should also address the issue of police killings in the country.
The latest SAPS statistics revealed that at least 31 police officers were killed between April and June this year.
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